Military leaders and Biden have ‘the blood of young men and women on their hands’, says friend of young Marine killed in Kabul bombing

 Military leaders and the White House have ‘the blood of young men and women on their hands’, a close friend of one of the fallen Marines told.

Rylee McCollum, 20, was one of 13 US military fatalities from a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday.

Ben Arlotta, his Jackson Hole, Wyoming, wrestling coach and a close friend to the whole family, told  of the grief and anger over losing the ‘compassionate and determined’ young expectant father.

Rylee McCollum, 20, was one of 13 US military fatalities from a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday
The young marine had been deployed to Afghanistan a few weeks prior to the attacks and was expected home in October

Rylee McCollum, 20, was one of 13 US military fatalities from a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday

Ben Arlotta, his Jackson Hole, Wyoming, wrestling coach and a close friend to the whole family, told DailyMail.com of the grief and anger over losing the ‘compassionate and determined’ young expectant father

Ben Arlotta, his Jackson Hole, Wyoming, wrestling coach and a close friend to the whole family, told DailyMail.com of the grief and anger over losing the ‘compassionate and determined’ young expectant father

Arlotta said military leaders and Biden have ‘the blood of young men and women on their hands’

Arlotta said military leaders and Biden have ‘the blood of young men and women on their hands’

‘I think the pullout was handled entirely improperly. It’s 110% our White House’s responsibility, our commander in chief. President Biden failed,’ he said.

‘I feel he left not just our servicemen and women but a lot of Americans, just hung them out to dry. And our allies and everybody else, from the way this was handled.


‘Refusing to take full accountability for it only makes it harder. Just standing up in front of the entire country and being willing to pass the buck to a previous president.

‘This is the consequence of those actions taken by people above [Rylee]. Now they have the blood of young men and women on their hands, because they failed to act in an appropriate manner.’

People close to McCollum said that the young man had always wanted to join the marines and enlisted on his 18th birthday

People close to McCollum said that the young man had always wanted to join the marines and enlisted on his 18th birthday 

Arlotta said McCollum wanted to be a Marine since he was nine, and signed up on his 18th birthday as an infantryman – refusing other, less dangerous roles offered to him by his military recruiter. A photo obtained by DailyMailTV, even shows a young McCollum in a diaper and cowboy boots, holding a toy rifle and standing guard outside his house with his dog at his side
McCollum wanted to be a soldier since childhood, first telling his parents he would join the Marines age eight

Arlotta said McCollum wanted to be a Marine since he was nine, and signed up on his 18th birthday as an infantryman – refusing other, less dangerous roles offered to him by his military recruiter. A photo obtained by DailyMailTV, even shows a young McCollum in a diaper and cowboy boots, holding a toy rifle and standing guard outside his house with his dog at his side

Arlotta said that on Saturday Rylee’s father Jim and sister Cheyenne flew to San Diego to pick up his wife Jiennah Crayton – who is due to give birth to their child in three weeks – then took a plane to an Air Force base in Dover, Delaware, where Rylee’s body is being delivered by the 436th Airlift Wing. Rylee McCollum with his father Jim McCollum

Arlotta said that on Saturday Rylee’s father Jim and sister Cheyenne flew to San Diego to pick up his wife Jiennah Crayton – who is due to give birth to their child in three weeks – then took a plane to an Air Force base in Dover, Delaware, where Rylee’s body is being delivered by the 436th Airlift Wing. Rylee McCollum with his father Jim McCollum

Arlotta got to know six-year-old McCollum as his coach and developed a close friendship over the years

Arlotta got to know six-year-old McCollum as his coach and developed a close friendship over the years

The coach said Rylee was a fan of military history, loving to discuss World War II and Vietnam on their long rides to state wrestling tournaments.  Pictured young Rylee McCollum wrestling

The coach said Rylee was a fan of military history, loving to discuss World War II and Vietnam on their long rides to state wrestling tournaments.  Pictured young Rylee McCollum wrestling 

Arlotta said that on Saturday Rylee’s father Jim and sister Cheyenne flew to San Diego to pick up his wife Jiennah Crayton – who is due to give birth to their child in three weeks – then took a plane to an Air Force base in Dover, Delaware, where Rylee’s body is being delivered by the 436th Airlift Wing.

Arlotta got to know six-year-old McCollum as his coach and developed a close friendship over the years.

‘He was just a genuine friend of mine,’ Arlotta, 37, told DailyMail.com speaking outside his Jackson Hole home.

‘Rylee was 100% cuff-of-his-sleeve genuine. He was a brutally honest kid which I believe he gets from his family and his dad in particular.

‘He was also extremely compassionate,’ the coach added. ‘He would quite literally fight and die for anybody from a young age.

‘He’s one of the best young men I had the privilege of coaching.’

McCollum, a U.S. Marine, was killed in the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Thursday. Pictured  during basic training

McCollum, a U.S. Marine, was killed in the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Thursday. Pictured  during basic training 

McCollum was one of several Marines stationed at the gates to Kabul International Airport, checking papers of the thousands of desperate refugees fleeing the Taliban-occupied city. Rylee McCollum, second from left on deployment

McCollum was one of several Marines stationed at the gates to Kabul International Airport, checking papers of the thousands of desperate refugees fleeing the Taliban-occupied city. Rylee McCollum, second from left on deployment

McCollum is remembered as 'a beautiful handsome man, a young man who had his whole life in front of him'
His sister Cheyenne said that 'Rylee was an amazing man, with a passion for the Marines'

McCollum is remembered as 'a beautiful handsome man, a young man who had his whole life in front of him' 

Arlotta said McCollum wanted to be a Marine since he was nine, and signed up on his 18th birthday as an infantryman – refusing other, less dangerous roles offered to him by his military recruiter.

A photo obtained by DailyMailTV, even shows a young McCollum in a diaper and cowboy boots, holding a toy rifle and standing guard outside his house with his dog at his side.

Arlotta said he is still reeling from the tragic news the McCollums received on Friday.

‘When I got that message it felt like I was hit by a truck, and electrocuted at the same time. You don’t know how to act, you don’t believe it’s true straight away,’ he said.

‘Even as I’m sitting here talking to you a day later, you’re still waiting for Rylee to pull up in a car, jump out and say “psych”. But at this point you know it’s not going to happen.

‘It is some of the hardest news I’ve ever received… It comes in waves. One minute you’re having a perfectly normal conversation, maybe even laughing a little bit about a story from Rylee’s life, and then the next 15 minutes you’re crying as hard as you can. 


Military officials salute during a dignified transfer event in 2019 at Dover Air Force Base. The sequence of the dignified transfer starts with the fallen being returned to Dover AFB as soon as possible

Military officials salute during a dignified transfer event in 2019 at Dover Air Force Base. The sequence of the dignified transfer starts with the fallen being returned to Dover AFB as soon as possible

Dignitaries board the transport plane for a prayer before a dignified transfer at Dover in 2019. The remains of the 13 US troops killed in an ISIS-K suicide blast are currently en route to Dover Air Force Base

Dignitaries board the transport plane for a prayer before a dignified transfer at Dover in 2019. The remains of the 13 US troops killed in an ISIS-K suicide blast are currently en route to Dover Air Force Base


‘For his sisters it’s been the same. Anguish, just absolute anguish. They’re a family broken right now around the loss of an amazing young man.’

McCollum was one of several Marines stationed at the gates to Kabul International Airport, checking papers of the thousands of desperate refugees fleeing the Taliban-occupied city.

He had been serving there for two weeks, after being deployed to Afghanistan in April.

McCollum’s sister was told by a witness that moments before a suicide bomber, believed to be an ISIS-K terrorist, detonated, several Afghan refugees were able to get through to safety.

‘Also want you to know how thankful I am for your brother’s sacrifice,’ the witness wrote to his 22-year-old sister Roice, who posted the message online.

‘While it is senseless and should never have had to happen, I personally know 15 Afghan nationals who made it through the wire just moments before the blast. The efforts that your brother and his comrades made were not in vain.’

Arlotta said that despite his junior rank of lance corporal and his young age, McCollum was responsible for intelligence for his platoon – meaning he was likely briefed on the imminent bomb threat signaled in the hours before the explosion that killed him.

Rylee McCollum (left) with his wife Jiennah Gigi Crayton (right). She shared this photo of them together in April before he was deployed

Rylee McCollum (left) with his wife Jiennah Gigi Crayton (right). She shared this photo of them together in April before he was deployed

The couple were pictured at the White Wedding Chapel

The couple were pictured at the White Wedding Chapel 

Gigi is expecting the couple's first child next month, she is 'crushed' by the news of her husband's recent death
The expectant mother believes that her husband 'would’ve been the best dad'

The expectant mother believes that her husband 'would’ve been the best dad'

The young widow is due to give birth in three weeks, now left to raise her child without her husband (Pictured: Gigi's sonogram photo shared on Facebook May 18)

The young widow is due to give birth in three weeks, now left to raise her child without her husband (Pictured: Gigi's sonogram photo shared on Facebook May 18)

‘As sharp and clever as he was, as street-smart as he was and as mature for his age, it sounds like he had some pretty observant and intuitive commanding officers because they recognized that in him immediately,’ said the coach, who also trained Rylee’s two sisters.

‘His responsibilities increased and he wasn’t just an expert marksman, he was the intelligence lead for his platoon. For a lance corporal, I’ve never heard of somebody that young getting that responsibility.

‘When he was writing his first intel briefing, his commanding officer said he had never seen a briefing like that, as detailed as it was and as complete as it was.’

The coach said Rylee was a fan of military history, loving to discuss World War II and Vietnam on their long rides to state wrestling tournaments.

‘It was something he was very passionate about. Teaching history, once he got out of the Marines, was one of his career goals,’ he said.

Arlotta said the young man’s family were, like him, ‘incredibly disappointed and incredibly angry’ at the bungled exit from Afghanistan.

‘Rylee was doing what he loved to do, what he was supposed to be doing and what he felt he was made for. But it shouldn’t have been that way,’ he said.

‘He wasn’t a TSA agent. He was a Marine. And they were put in a very, very difficult position. It just shouldn’t have been like that.

Marines are seen manning a checkpoint at the Kabul airport on Thursday. Thirteen US troops were killed when a suicide bomb went off near this checkpoint, also killing some 160 Afghans

Marines are seen manning a checkpoint at the Kabul airport on Thursday. Thirteen US troops were killed when a suicide bomb went off near this checkpoint, also killing some 160 Afghans

Former Marine Brian Abelli walks past a wreath after placing a rose at the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial on Saturday. A ceremony was held to honor the U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan

Former Marine Brian Abelli walks past a wreath after placing a rose at the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial on Saturday. A ceremony was held to honor the U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan

‘The fewer service members that we have there, the less protection they’re going to give. The fact that as a country and as allies we’ve relied on the terrorist group responsible for harboring the people that attacked our country for security, it’s only going to get worse.’

By Saturday afternoon three GoFundMe pages set up for Jiennah and her child raised a total of $382,620.

Arlotta said Rylee left a profound impression on everyone he met, and that the family have been ‘overwhelmed’ by support from across the country.

‘It seems like the entire world has been reaching out to the McCollums to offer their support,’ he said.

‘Being in the wrestling community for so long, Rylee’s family have received phone calls, text messages, Facebook posts. Guys he trained with from Nebraska, from Iowa, guys that he wrestled against in Colorado. All these places, he left an impression.

‘And the beautiful thing about being from a town like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is that the entire town lost someone in Rylee.’

Military leaders and Biden have ‘the blood of young men and women on their hands’, says friend of young Marine killed in Kabul bombing Military leaders and Biden have ‘the blood of young men and women on their hands’, says friend of young Marine killed in Kabul bombing Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:24 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.